Why Oz snub SA at Christmas

2011-12-21 12:34

Comment: Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

Cape Town - There are well over 120 000 reasons why Cricket Australia will not surrender prime Festive Season Test cricket and allow the national side to play in South Africa over that period.

That figure? It is the remarkable, combined tally of spectators expected for days one and two alone of the first Test against India at the Melbourne Cricket Ground from Boxing Day this year.

In these days of uncertainty over the future of the illustrious five-day format, it is a heartening development not just for Australians but also for all those who cherish Test cricket’s tradition and gravitas.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported on Wednesday that a crowd of over 75 000 is anticipated for the first day at the MCG, meaning December 26 in that city remains one of the most lucrative across all formats of the game worldwide for gate takings.

Day two will still reportedly see some 45 000 flock to the huge venue, the lure being not only hopes of a much-needed Aussie revival in the Test arena - now under the coaching command of South African Mickey Arthur - but also an opportunity to bid likely farewell Down Under to ageing Indian batting legends Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and, to a slightly lesser extent, VVS Laxman.

There are four Tests in the keenly-awaited series.

Lucrative Boxing Day and beyond at the MCG, and then the Sydney Cricket Ground over New Year - where the touring Indians will tackle the second Test - are the key reasons why Australian cricket bosses have an impasse with their Cricket South Africa (CSA) counterparts over these great rivals locking horns in the peak holiday season.

It is sad but inevitable, considering that CSA, similarly, are understandably reluctant to ever have the Proteas absent from our shores in this period.

Controversially, the Proteas met the Aussies in a gripping, but criminally short two-Test series here a few weeks ago, and are now in the midst of prime-time Test activity against much more moderate Sri Lanka, already clobbered in the first meeting at Centurion.

South Africa tackle the Baggy Greens (over three Tests this time) in their own habitat next summer, but again the big southern hemisphere rivals will go head to head well before the Christmas period - in November and early December.

As a result, holiday time will see Cricket Australia trying to drum up interest in a home series against the Sri Lankans, and CSA also having a tough time, probably, of promoting Festive Seasons clashes between the Proteas and humdrum visitors New Zealand.

Although on a much more humble level financially, Newlands over New Year is roughly South Africa’s “gold mine” equivalent of Boxing Day fever at the MCG, with Capetonians showing a healthy trend for turning out in droves regardless of the calibre of the Test foes.

Unfortunately the Test slot from December 26 is a more problematic one for CSA: Kingsmead is the most traditional venue for it - as is the case again this year against the Lankans - but South Africa have a strangely poor record there of late, gates are pretty humble and the weather is a perennial drawback as well.

The latter snag looks like intervening again this time. Although day one looks reasonably dry, according to Weather24, days three and four, particularly, look like being dogged by significant downpours - as much as 52mm of rain is being tipped in the long-range forecast for next Thursday.

In 2007/08, CSA departed from the norm by shifting the Boxing Day Test to Port Elizabeth, but it was against a West Indies side which was - and remains - in the doldrums, and the public response was also unremarkable, so Kingsmead quickly returned to the roster for that slot.

If the elements do play havoc in Durban, one shaft of light for CSA might be that the series is thus decided over bumper New Year in Cape Town, rather than there being the risk of a dead-rubber affair at Newlands.

But at least as far as the fierce SA-Aussie rivalry is concerned, don’t expect a return to combat between them during your precious “relaxation” period any time soon.
The amazing MCG magnet goes a long, long way to precluding that ...


  • Stephen - 2011-12-21 12:51

    Cant blame either side for staying home during the Christmas period.

  • steven.chiaberta - 2011-12-21 13:27

    Totally agree. Just wish we could have England or India, even Pakistan out here over this period.

  • Saksak Motsepe - 2011-12-21 13:58

    The person who wrote this article wrote it so well. News24 should find more people like him/her and stop using those journos from SAPA

  • Larry - 2011-12-21 14:46

    Its not only the money, which is huge. The Boxing Day and New Year tests are a tradition going back into the mists of time. The Aussies would fire the entire Government, before they would allow anyone to change this, but there is no need, because the money it brings in to CA, makes sure that they do not tamper with it.

  • Hertzel - 2011-12-21 15:28

    ...I'm still not keen to watch cricket live until Majola goes...and I hold The Unions responsible for the impasse.....Northerns were the Only Union that voted " against " Majola's whilst The Free State abstained...all the other Unions have supported the Unions want to understand corporate governance ? can only assume NO..........................

      goyougoodthing - 2011-12-22 07:59

      Look who runs cricket in the provinces and you will get your answer.

  • mholthuysen - 2011-12-21 17:09

    It does not matter - I got my tickets - boxing day fun at Castle Corner; Proteas vs. Sri Lanka!!! Proteas gooooooooooooo!

  • Ian - 2011-12-21 22:51

    oh puleaaaaseeeee cricket australia, give me a break, the last time we toured your little island, we whopped you 3-1 in the tests and 4-1 in the odi's , you just dont wanna be left with egg on your mugs again, and btw when we were there your grounds were choc a bloc full so dont bs us about ticket sales

      sam.kaitawa - 2011-12-22 02:47

      First off I'm a kiwi so I'm fairly neural but still a proud ANZAC......"the last time we toured your little island" obviously geography isn't your strong suit Ian? Are you aware that Australia is approx 7 times bigger than SA and incidentally when thick saffas like yourself say regarding NZ as little Islands I'm sure you're aware that SA is only twice the size of NZ yet a 12th the population yet NZ is 100 times better at most sports. Get a map, use a compass and while you're at it get a life and travel a bit, who knows- you might learn something? But then again probably not.

      Ian - 2011-12-22 06:28

      and why you dont want to play south africa I will tell you why, because your great team couldnt defend 434 in an odi , because your great team could defend over 400 at your own back yard in a second innings chase , the only way you could win 1 test was to injure our captain ,we all know india are lousy travellers and get beaten often when they tour, OK MATE

      sam.kaitawa - 2011-12-22 08:00

      Ian Ian Ian, come on MATE, settle down, read my last posts........use your thick nut, I'm a kiwi OK MATE, when you state "why you" is a clear give away of your petulant yet naughty behaviour. Now off to school you young scally wag, there's a good boy

      Ian - 2011-12-22 08:11

      its past your bed time retard now f off

      Ian - 2011-12-22 08:14

      Flights to CT R1000, tickets to newlands to watch SA VS OZ and lunch about 550, watching australia get knocked over for for 46, PRICELESS LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

      sam.kaitawa - 2011-12-22 08:37

      Are you serious? it's 7:30pm NZ time, bed time? Usually I wouldn't give you the time of the day let alone give you the steam off my own piss but since you're obviously a young fella and perhaps a next generation sports champ I'll spell it out. SA are frankly not as good as you want/wish/hope for. It's a fact, as much as your bitching/moaning/whining/whinging yet alone complaining doesn't change the fact that SA aren't as good as you'd like to think....... Don't forget to look both ways when you cross the road to reality, ask mummy for a cut lunch and remember to hold her hand tight, chucks, as Cat Stevens once sang "Remember the days in the old school yard, we used to laugh alot"

      sam.kaitawa - 2011-12-22 08:42

      Flights to CT R1000, tickets to newlands to watch SA VS OZ and lunch about 550, watching australia get knocked over for for 46, PRICELESS LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL Empty rugby cabinets...........LAUGHABLE YET TRADJIC

  • Niki - 2011-12-21 23:44

    Perhaps they don't want to spoil Christmas for the folks Down Under?

      Phil - 2011-12-22 05:59

      Niki , Australians have far more to enjoy in their lives than letting the results of sports games spoil their Xmas.

  • steven.chiaberta - 2011-12-22 11:38

    NZ better than us at most sports??? I hate to tell you this, Sam, but aside from rugby, where admittedly you probably just shade us at the moment, SA is WAY better than you guys at sport in general. How many major winning golfers do you have? How many world boxing champions? We don't look forward to playing the black caps because they're usually useless (that's why we're hoping - almost certainly against hope - that your recent test win over Aus wasn't a one-off fluke). Where are your surfers? Your tennis players inside the top 30 in the world rankings? We've even just about caught you up in sailing, you twat! The list goes on, but I'm running out of space.

      sam.kaitawa - 2011-12-22 12:20

      The Olympics for a start, check it out bro Soccer, check it out bro Netball, check it out bro, Sailing, check it out bro To be honest, you name a sport and during that time, look up the Olympics. It's there in black and white. I'll give you a helping hand whilst you google it, you are no where near us for golds let alone medal tally. There's no denying that SA are better at cricket than NZ but are you? SA are what? Perhaps SA should stop making up stories how good you think you are and start facing the actual truth. No wonder you guys immigrate here, if you can't stand the heat then get..........

      sam.kaitawa - 2011-12-22 12:29

      Most if not all bar cricket, golf and nothing Wow, must be embarressing for you Stevo, hence the word MOST, and only 4 million, hey Stevo, remind me again the population of SA? Shame

      sam.kaitawa - 2011-12-22 12:44

      Steveo, do you want a list? Simple question, do you feel embarrassed? If I was from SA 'with a population of 50 million compared to 4 million and lost at MOST sports I'd feel like blaming the ref/coach/politics/cheats etc etc. Must feel like a kick in the pants. Hang on, why not blame the internet?, just a thought I'll repeat, MOST SPORTS NZ ANNILIATES SOUTH AFRICA

      sam.kaitawa - 2011-12-22 16:59

      Stevo, did you mention boxing? Check it out bro Correct me if I'm wrong but aren't the AB's the most successful team of ALL sports, hmmmm, me thinks you're feeling rather flustered. In general ie MOST sports NZ is better. Happy days bro, MOST SPORTS, at least you guys are marginally better at cricket aye, well done and hats off to all you 50 million people, our 4 million hearts wish you all the best and maybe your 50 million might one day be better at MOST sports, actually bro, we are better at 83% international sports. Is it something in our water or is it something in your water? Have a great one, practise makes perfect........tricks of the trade LOL

      Phil - 2011-12-24 07:52

      Take a look at the overall Tri-Nations log since inception ....we finish stone last behind Australia. In many other sports we are going downhill rapidly (check the medal tallies for the last few olympics)

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